Nigerian Gunmen Threaten to Kill 287 Kidnapped School Children for $622,000 Ransom
A boy holds a sign in Kaduna, Nigeria, March 8, 2024, protesting current conditions in the country. Recent kidnappings of hundreds of people, including almost 300 schoolchildren March 7 in Kuriga in the central part of Nigeria, have left church leaders and parents, including Catholics, speechless as kidnappings become a horrific new normal. (OSV News photo/Reuters)

Report Nigerian Gunmen Threaten to Kill 287 Kidnapped School Children for $622,000 Ransom – In a shocking incident that has sent waves of fear through the community, gunmen in Nigeria have kidnapped at least 287 school children, demanding a ransom of 1 billion naira ($621,848) for their release. This horrifying act took place last Thursday in Kuriga, a town in Nigeria’s north-western Kaduna State, where the LEA Primary and Secondary School is located. The abduction was carried out by armed bandits on motorcycles who stormed the school early in the morning, taking more than 300 students. Some of the students were rescued, but 287 remain with the kidnappers, with about 100 from the primary school and the rest from the secondary school.

Nigerian Gunmen Threaten to Kill 287 Kidnapped School Children for $622,000 Ransom
Nigerian Gunmen Threaten to Kill 287 Kidnapped School Children for $622,000 Ransom

The kidnappers, who have threatened to kill all the students if their demands are not met, have set an ultimatum of three weeks or 20 days from the date of the kidnapping. This ultimatum was communicated to a member of the local community, Aminu Jibril, a resident of Kuriga village, through a call from a hidden number. The kidnappers claimed that their actions were a form of retaliation against the government and security agencies for the killing of their gang members.

In response to the kidnapping, Nigeria’s president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has ordered security forces not to pay any ransom for the release of the school pupils. This decision is in line with the government’s official stance, as conveyed by the country’s information minister, Mohammed Idris. The minister emphasized that “not a dime is to be paid” to the kidnappers.

The Kaduna Governor, Uba Sani, has also expressed his government’s commitment to ensuring the safe return of the pupils and students. He noted that a member of the community who confronted the abductors during the attack was tragically killed. This incident comes in the wake of several mass abductions in recent years in Kaduna state, including a similar incident in 2021 where at least 140 students were kidnapped by armed men from a private secondary school. Five of those students were killed after a ransom deadline was not met.

Why schoolchildren are being abducted in northern Nigeria amid the ...
Why schoolchildren are being abducted in northern Nigeria amid the …

The situation in Kaduna state, which borders the Nigerian capital Abuja to the southwest, has been grappling with recurring incidents of kidnappings for ransom by bandits. The LEA Primary and Secondary School, where the latest kidnapping took place, is located in the district that has witnessed several mass abductions in recent years. This incident underscores the ongoing security challenges faced by the region and the country as a whole.

As the community and the world watch with bated breath, the fate of the 287 kidnapped school children remains uncertain. The Nigerian government’s firm stance against paying ransom, coupled with the ongoing search and rescue operations, will be crucial in determining the outcome of this tragic incident.

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